Dirty Protest vs Artes Mundi
Having previously blogged about visiting the Artes Mundi Prize exhibition, I seized the opportunity to watch a preview performance of a selection of short Dirty Protest plays allied to it, presented at the National Museum. This was a lunchtime show, prior to the full extravaganza (consisting of seven pieces) taking place later that evening at Porter's Bar, a new venue elsewhere in central Cardiff. It was certainly a clever idea to have the three playlets performed in the rooms in which the artworks which inspired them were situated, and it made for a delightful experience. Miriam Bäckström’s gorgeous crystalline tapestry was a suitably epic backdrop for Katherine Chandler's amusingly sexy anti-rom-com; Tom Wentworth's poignant take on hoarding sat equally well within Sheela Gowda's industrial oil-drum-oriented installation; Teresa Margolles’ prize-winning exhibit, inspired by her experience of the Mexican drug wars provided an effectively clammy context for Lotty Talbutt's chilling tale of hired killers.
There are presumably numerous factors, mostly related to the safety of the items on display, which would render the Museum’s habitual use as a venue for site-specific theatre impractical. I'm sure, though, that most writers would leap at the chance to create work based on and performed in the proximity of pieces from its impressive permanent collection.